Dream Center – Loving and Touching People.Bookmark this
THE CHRISTMAS SEASON brings the hope of a warm house, filled with families sharing a hot meal, memories, and good tidings for the upcoming year. The season also proves difficult for the many that are facing loss, spiritual darkness, disease or financial strife, and one local non-profit is making it’s mission to spark hope once again.
If you happen to be on the Westside or Eastside of San Antonio on any given Saturday, you may see a crowd of Dream Center volunteers walking the streets and going door to door, as part of the ministry’s Adopt-a-Block program. Knock, knock, knock. “It’s the Dream Center, just seeing if you need anything today.”
Seeing a need and filling it encompasses what the Dream Center does every day. The mission of the Dream Center, with ministries and local leadership in San Antonio, Los Angeles, and New York, is to help people dream again, and reach those dreams. “It’s hard for people to do the regular, mundane things of life, let alone dream if they don’t have food, housing or clothing,” said Dream Center Founder and CEO, Pastor Warren Beemer. With an encouraging word, hand up, or as Warren says, “a wheelbarrow full of resources,” the Dream Center provides assistance and basic needs, such as food, shelter, medical care, and clothing to help the homeless and struggling families get back on their feet, and live to fight another day. “I believe God has an intersection set in the lives for everyone, and I just want to help them survive until they reach that intersection.”
Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
The Dream Center features an extensive food and toiletry pantry, clothing, diaper wall and more, that provides weekly and emergency distributions to those in need. Through its San Antonio location and clothes and food sites around the city, as well as missionary work in Mexico, the Dream Center helps 900 families, literally thousands of people, each month.
The Dream Center emphasizes helping people without judgment, requirements, or the need to jump through hoops. “We want people to see the homeless and those in need as more than just a charity case, but as an opportunity to touch someone else, and share hope,” said Warren.
The Dream Center wants to be a familiar fixture in areas of need and be a resource if and when someone needs it. Adopt-a-Block puts Dream Center volunteers on upwards of 90 blocks every week to meet the needs of various neighborhoods, as well as get to know the residents. The team has not missed a Saturday in nine years. “We might find a neighbor needs a car seat or more urgent need like a wheelchair, or ramp built. We see what we can fulfill immediately, and then go to our partners for the more significant needs.” The Dream Center works with various partners, from carpenters to heating and AC companies, who generally help fill requests at little or no charge. Most importantly, the staff and volunteers share the hope of the gospel as the place to start dreaming again. Baptisms are common on a regular basis as the community celebrates together.
“When you can pour your life into somebody, it doesn’t just do something in them, it does something in us, too.”
Various neighborhood events throughout the year help bring the community, churches, police department and council members together, to begin the process of trusting one another. The ministry recently hosted a “Funtober” event to give neighborhood children a safe trick-or-treating experience. “We’ve gone from breaking up drug deals at our events to having breakfast together, to taking these people back to our food pantry. We now have that relationship,” recounted Warren. “There’s peace that comes from these interactions, and I know that peace comes from Christ, even if they don’t.”
Warren tells a story of a colleague visiting the homeless living under a bridge, and how one man, in particular, met her with hostility and resentment. The Dream Center volunteer explained that her father also had a difficult life. After having an affair, he had lost his marriage, and later his job. He found himself living under a bridge, and she told the man, she could only hope someone was praying over and feeding him wherever he was. For 15 years, the volunteer went to the same bridge and fed the same angry man, with little to no interaction. One day, he came to her and said he was ready. He received Christ, went to a program to help kick his addiction, went on to Bible school, and later became a pastor. At his congregations, the man, who had previously lived under the bridge, talks about how all it took was one person who continually showed up and gave him the opportunity to change. Even if 15 years later, Warren said, “we slowly see people change and begin to manifest something different than the previous trappings of their life.”
As the Dream Center motto says, “find a need and fill it, find a hurt and heal it,” which is why the Dream Center is known for not only its distribution of food and necessities but also its assistance in a myriad of issues families and those in need face. Services include medical clinics, home repairs and renovations, and mentorship and counseling to those coming through the Family Court System and Child Protective Services (CPS).
“We were contacted for a specific case for a house that needed to be rebuilt for a grandmother that would be taking in her two grandchildren. The house was unlivable, didn’t have a bathroom, and only had tarps for a ceiling. How could these children learn to dream living in a house like this? They couldn’t,” said Warren. Along with other ministries, $26,000 in donations for materials, 300 volunteers, and more than 15,000 hours of labor, the teams set to renovate the house. “We were able to turn this around, and the judge working on the case was able to come and cut the grand opening ribbon on the house.”
Renewed Families, the latest program from the Dream Center, helps CPS families through parenting classes, alcohol and drug addiction, anger management, as well as the various steps necessary to get their children back, including providing witness testimony on the parents’ behalf.
Looking forward, the Dream Center sets its sights on expanding locations on the Eastside, to include overnight facilities, shelter, and transitional services for addicts and the homeless. The Dream Center will also be launching a Juvenile Justice program to help teens in juvenile detention with addiction and counseling. The Dream Center is currently a resource to other non-profits, offering free grant writing services, staff, and office space, and hopes a larger facility in the future will become a one-stop shop for up and coming non-profits and those seeking assistance. “We believe in collaboration; we don’t have to reinvent the wheel,” said Warren. “We want to do our part and add to what others are doing, so we can function as a community.”
Time, Talent, and Treasure
The season of giving is upon us, and the extensive work of the Dream Center requires the help of the entire community. Learn how you can give your time, talent and treasures so the Dream Center can help those in need continue dreaming.
• Donate. Financial gifts are critical in the Dream Center’s plans to expand to new locations and launch new programs. Donations can be made online at www.sadreamcenter.thirddaygeneration.org/get-involved.
• Volunteer. Help walk blocks on Saturdays, or sort food boxes and clothing during the week. Contact the Dream Center at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information on how to volunteer and donate your time.
• Adopt-a-Block. Individual volunteers, churches and civic groups can reserve and “own” Saturdays every quarter to keep the program continuously running and expanding.
• Lend your talents. The Dream Center is always looking for additional resources and experts in construction, plumbing, computer skills and more, to help meet immediate needs.
• Become a partner. Have a business that could donate items or services to the Dream Center? Join other partners such as Garcia’s Tamales, Alamo Water, On Time Elmer, Zubi Wear, Plato’s Closet, Thrive Outreach, BluePrint Ministries and Life Restored Ministries and be part of what the Dream Center is doing in the community.
• Donate items. From car seats to cribs, to food and clothing, help stock the Dream Center. Contact the Dream Center at 210-570-7137 to donate specific items or for more information.
Dreams really do come true. Just ask The Dream Center how their dream, and the dreams of so many others, are coming true everyday through lots of love and intentionally connecting people to the One that gives us the desires of our heart.
Contact the Dream Center
at (210) 570-7137
to donate specific items or
for more information.
Be A Light.
Give. A year end gift will go a long way in expanding the reach of The Dream Center. Ongoing monthly giving is vital to meet the urgent needs of those they serve. Prayerfully consider one or both to help make dreams come true. Volunteer. Make a difference in someone’s life and your life will be changed too. Pray. The needs of those this ministry serves can be overwhelming. But nothing is too hard for our great God. Pray for our community to respond in order to serve those less fortunate than us. Pray that thousands will come to know Jesus and dream big.
Thank you Lord, for this Anonymous Partner who generously gave to DreamCenter so that we could feature this article in our December issue. With this generous gift we are able to help raise awareness for all DreamCenter does to help the citizens in our community.